Lost Japanese hikers who survived 10 days on cookies apologize for "causing trouble"

View from Mount Misen, Japan
(Image credit: Getty)

Two Japanese hikers have been rescued after spending 10 days lost in the mountains surviving on only stream water and cookies – and immediately apologized to emergency responders for causing a fuss.

The walkers, two women in their 60s, were climbing the 1,895-metre tall Mount Misen in central Japan when they accidentally strayed off-trail in the mist and were unable to find their way back. The pair managed to keep going for over a week on their meager supplies until they were found.

As This Week in Asia reports, a 61-year-old from Nagoya and 69-year-old from Ichinomiya (who haven't been named) planned to stay at a mountain refuge overnight before heading back down the following day.

The women had taken the sensible step of letting the local mountain hiking office know that they were leaving and when they intended to return, so officials were able to raise the alarm when they didn't arrive on time. However, weather conditions and visibility can be unpredictable, particularly on high ground, so it's important to check the weather forecast plus local weather trends (see how to read a mountain weather forecast for your hike).

No phone reception

Police were dispatched to search the mountain's heavily wooded criss-crossing trails, but the effort was called off after five days with no sign of the pair. Meanwhile the two women found a rudimentary shelter where they were able to light a fire and await rescue, but were unable to contact emergency services due to lack of phone reception. They rationed cookies and chocolate, and drank water from a nearby stream.

Eventually the younger of the pair decided to head north towards the village where they had started their journey using a map and the compass app on her phone, and eventually found a strong enough signal to call for help. Luckily, her phone still had sufficient charge; carrying a physical compass and knowing how to use it is always safer (see our guide on how to take a bearing for details).

She was rescued by helicopter, and was able to give directions to her companion who was rescued three hours later. "I feel so bad about causing trouble to so many people," she told police. "I should have had the courage to turn back earlier."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.